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Assignments in college prep English are opportunities for students to acquire, develop, and refine critical reading, thinking, researching, and writing skills necessary for college-level courses.  For many college prep English students, the way to obtain successful marks has remained a mystery for far too long and I think it's my job to demystify the process.

Assignments are intended to be challenging; however, for students to be successful in completing assignments the expectations for success need to be clearly communicated.  In addition, what is required to achieve a passing grade must too be clearly communicated.

Thus, I provide clear rubrics to students at the beginning of every class and I take seriously all feedback students give me on how to refine my communication regarding class assignments.

Unlike other college prep English courses, some students enrolled in English 090 students have already received conditional acceptance to their college or university-level program, but did not have the grades required for admittance to English 100.  Or, the student may have referred to English 090 by an instructor to help improve the students' overall reading, thinking, researching, and writing skills for greater success in their 100-level classes.  Therefore, I feel it is important to make the assignments scaffold clearly into 100-level assignments, and I work closely with many college instructors to meet this goal.

  • As a way of scaffolding students into academic writing, the first two assignments are intended to be completed in groups; however, a student may choose to work independently.
  • Thesis statements will be provided, but are optional and students may provide their own thesis statements.
  • The Research Binder is to be developed in conjunction with Essay #1.
  • Essay #1 is a Formal Essay Outline only (see pages 418-419 in the textbook for an example).

  • Assignments are due by 4:00 p.m. on the due date.
  • Essays #1-4 follow the standard Grade 12 format of the 5-paragraph essay and APA style, and need to include include at least three (3) academic sources as argument support.
  • The Research Essay follows the standard 100-level course essay of at least five (5) pages of content (i.e. not including title page, references page, etc.) and needs to cite at least five (5) peer-reviewed journal articles, two (2) books, and one (1) government website
  • Critical Reading Responses require at least four (4) paragraphs and will be evaluated using a rubric that examines the student’s demonstration of critical reading and critical thinking skills, in addition to writing style, mechanics, and formatting.
  • Calibrated Peer Reviews are designed to give students opportunity to practice analyzing and evaluating writing samples, while also giving students an opportunity to polish their essays before final submission.
  • For the essay rubric the students, with guidance from the instructor, will work together to assign percentages for each section in the rubric.  To prepare for active participation, students are encouraged to read the following article: Academic writing: The key to student retention? (2011) by Cecile Badenhorst http://bit.ly/1qiaEBn